You’re pregnant! Congratulations!

This month we’d like to celebrate YOU by compiling some of the best pregnancy and newborn advice we’ve received over the years into one comprehensive post. We hope your pregnancy brings you much joy, reflection and gratitude as your family grows and your heart swells to a size you never thought possible!

 A short list of questions for your care providers: 

  • Is it standard practice to take the baby away to the nursery post birth?
  • What is the relationship (and plan of action) between hospital/back up gynae and/or midwife?
  • What is the fee for a private room, or how many usually share a room?
  • Can we ensure delayed cord clamping is part of my birth plan?
  • What is their post birth policy (how long does my birth team stay, how long do I stay in the birth room and then the recovery room)?
  • At what point in pregnancy should the baby settle in head down (thinking ahead regarding baby’s position).

Other questions you might have – particularly if this is your first birth:

  • Can you suggest some antenatal classes?
  • How long should I keep active and continue exercising?
  • Any dietary/supplementary recommendations (other than what I’m already taking)
  • If you are thinking of going the natural route: What is the role of a doula? Can you explain the usefulness of a birth plan? What are the different forms of pain relief? Any thoughts about arranging a natural birth photographer, and possibly attending a hypnobirthing class?
  • What medication is safe to take if I get a cold/the flu?
  • How often is appropriate to ask your partner to rub your feet (on average, per week)? We’re teasing – but if there ever was a time to ask for foot rubs – it’s now!

Some more important information about how to care for your baby’s skin, straight after birth

Vernix:

Don’t wash it off! Fresh out of the womb, babies are covered with the most luscious, thick, creamy, moisturizing substance called vernix caseosa. This is the perfect covering for the baby as it encounters the harsh climate of the world. Scientists have studied the components of vernix and have identified lipids, amino acids, proteins and beneficial microbes that are essential for your baby’s well-being.

Keep it simple:

Don’t be fooled by smart marketing. Babies need very little after they are born. Savour that golden hour (the first hour post-birth), where one can establish breastfeeding and enjoy immediate skin-to-skin contact. Babies are clean – they don’t need a bath immediately after birth. In fact, the World Health Organization advises delaying baby’s first bath for 24 hours. When you are ready to give your baby her first bath, simply use clean water or a completely natural wash. Harsh, synthetically fragranced soaps strip the body of its natural oils. If you prefer using a baby wash, the Pure Beginnings Probiotic Baby Cream Wash for sensitive skin is microbiome friendly and pH balanced.

Don’t be tempted by that ‘baby smell’:

Don’t expose your precious little bundle to unnecessary chemicals. Increasingly we are learning of the devastating long-term effects of chemicals in baby products. A newborn’s skin is so delicate that it is important to avoid any products with the words ‘parfum’, or ‘fragrance’ in the ingredient list (unless these have been approved for use in certified organic products). Conventional synthetic fragrances in baby products are one of the leading causes of allergies and irritation on the skin. 

Anticipating nappy rash:

The most common skin ailment one can expect with a newborn is the dreaded nappy rash. Unfortunately, the materials which keep disposable nappies from leaking, also prevent air from circulating, and this, combined with the fact that a baby’s skin barrier is not yet fully formed (the skin structure is still developing, and the layers of epidermis are thinner than in adults), creates the ideal environment for a rash to develop. When it comes to your newborn’s little bottom, the cleaner and drier the skin, the better. Regardless of whether you’re using disposable or cloth nappies, we recommend you use natural (ideally biodegradable) wipes, and a natural bum cream to create a thick barrier on your baby’s bottom. If a rash does develop, treat the affected skin with a bum cream that contains natural plant oils (rather than petroleum bases), which allow the skin to breathe, supports a healthy microbiome and has a pH which matches the natural pH of the skin. Also remember it’s a good idea to give your baby some nappy-free time for a few minutes each day.

Jenny Spiro’s top tips on infant sleep:

Jenny Spiro is an Occupational Therapist specialising in newborn babies (and creator of the NurtureOne sleep pillow).

– Timing is everything. Try to ‘catch the sleep wave’ at the right time. Learning to read your baby’s cues is challenging but doable – give it a go!

– Don’t overstimulate the environment. No mobiles over cots. Keep colours and tones of the room clean and neutral.

– Don’t let your baby get overtired. Being overtired leads to neediness which can lead to a disaster.

– Put your baby down in her cot bum first, then head (and always have your baby’s head be at the same level or higher than her body).

– It is okay for your baby to have a soft toy, dummy or soother to help keep her calm at night when you are not there.

– Co-sleeping (or not) is a controversial topic! Do what works for you, and what you feel is safe and responsible.

– A little bit of baby massage pre-sleep is a wonderful thing. We are huge fans of baby massage – read all about it here

Wishing all of you the very, very best as you embrace this wonderfully life changing new season. 

We’re behind you all the way! 

 

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